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Letter XXXIV.—Preparation for the Sacraments.

To the same person. On preparation for the Sacraments, prayer, reading and conduct.

Believe me, my dear Sister, that peace of mind, confidence, and abandonment to God, with the desire of being united to Jesus Christ are the best preparation for the Sacraments. But the devil tries to deceive people, and leaves nothing undone to disturb the interior peace of the soul, for he well knows that once this divine peace is firmly established in the heart, all will be easy to us, and we shall fly, as it were, in the ways of perfection. Do not let us be deluded, then, by any pretexts of which he may 174make use, however specious they may be, and let us go to God humbly with the simplicity and confidence that St. Francis of Sales advises, in the uprightness of a heart that sincerely seeks Him. As to prayer you well know what I have so much recommended to you; do not allow yourself to be discouraged nor vexed at your distractions. Manage, however, that your interior turning to God and the raising of your heart to Him during the day may become so frequent that that alone, in case of need will take the place of prayer, without, however, leaving off making it as well as you can. Apply yourself especially to reading the letters of St. Francis of Sales, you will find them so well suited to your present state and condition that you could read them as though the saint had written them to yourself from heaven, and as though the Holy Spirit had dictated them to him for you.

You wish to know what it is that I ask of God for you in particular. It is this, and for such easy things that their very facility will charm you.

1st. The moderation of your exterior conduct, which will be a wonderful help to you in gradually overcoming your passions; in other words, to speak gently, to act quietly, without any vehemence or impetuosity just as though you were of a phlegmatic temperament.

2nd. Interior gentleness towards yourself and others, at least of the kind that nothing contrary to this virtue may show in your exterior conduct; or that, if for a moment you should forget yourself you will not fail to make reparation and to rise without delay.

3rd. An entire abandonment to divine Providence as to the success of everything, without excepting your own advancement in virtue; not wishing to be better than God wishes you to be, and saying always, “I wish only what God wills.”

4th. A peace of heart that nothing can disturb, not even your own faults and sins, and which will make you return to God with a peaceful and quiet humility, as though you had not had the misfortune to offend His divine Majesty or that you were assured of pardon. Follow this advice with simplicity, and you will see how God will help you.

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